Kcom, part of the KCOM Group, has worked in partnership with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) to create an innovative self service solution to assist them with reducing the costly process of renewing European Health Insurance (EHIC) cards.

The Special Health Authority amongst other things, issues five million EHIC cards per year – each application for renewal can cost £1.40 if done through a member of staff at their call centre.

For the NHSBSA, the new bespoke self service solution proposes a number of business and financial benefits focused on improving its customer service; applicants experience a smoother application process with reduced overall waiting times, they are less likely to chase their cards and can now even make applications for cards on behalf of family members.

The new service allows the NHSBSA to deal with increasing call volumes without affecting other customer calls and allows staff to focus on providing a better customer experience throughout the business.

The cloud-based voice recognition solution is already delivering huge cost savings for the NHSBSA and is currently managing around 4000 calls a day. EHIC card renewals are now automated through the voice recognition system, making a potential 70% saving if the transaction is fully completed. The NHSBSA has so far made a saving of £600,000 since the system was implemented in 2009.

Kcom Self Service solutions are deployed within Kcom’s network, creating a cloud-based service. It has been engineered to be Carrier grade to deliver a robust, resilient service to meet the diverse needs of our customers, providing piece of mind and improved business continuity.

Brendan Brown, Head of Operational and Shared Services at the NHSBSA says: “Kcom’s ability to create a flexible business package which addresses our needs has meant that our working relationship is based around trust. I admire the risks that Kcom have taken with this new system, and we are already exploring other opportunities with them.”

“We are highly impressed with the new voice recognition system that Kcom has implemented and its efficiency in dealing with the high volume of calls that the EHIC scheme receives. The risk and reward system is an opportunity for us to address the need to make huge costs savings as well as take on board new technology which allows us to create a better customer experience.

Suzette Bouzane Meadows, Director of Contact Centres at Kcom added: “Kcom proposed an innovative solution leveraging the extensive know-how and experience of the team involved. We are delighted with the success so far. Our willingness to propose a scheme which shared financial risk with NHSBSA is delivering extensive cost savings and sharpening their customer experience.

“This was a valuable opportunity for Kcom to demonstrate how aligned we are to the needs and requirements of the public sector, especially due to the challenges that the sector is currently facing.”